Two retooling teams will stage a rematch when the St. Louis Blues host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
The Blues beat the Sharks 6-3 in San Jose on March 2 for their only victory in their last nine games. Meanwhile San Jose has gone 2-8-1 in its last 11 games.
Both teams made significant, forward-looking moves before the NHL trade deadline after falling out of the playoff chase.
The Sharks come into this game at Enterprise Center on the heels of an ugly 6-0 loss at Colorado Tuesday in the second game of a back-to-back.
After showing encouraging signs in a 3-2 overtime victory at Winnipeg on Monday, the Sharks got crushed by the Avalanche the next night.
“A — they’re very good,” Sharks coach David Quinn said of the Avalanche. “B — we’ve been going through a lot the last few weeks like a lot of teams have, but big win last night and traveled here. But everybody plays back-to-backs.
“Anything that could have gone wrong did. (We) didn’t show any type of characteristics that we have throughout the season, and we just have to move forward here quickly.”
In the Blues’ victory at San Jose, Pavel Buchnevich had four assists and Jordan Kyrou, Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko each had a goal and an assist.
Then St. Louis lost its next two games, falling 4-2 at the Los Angeles Kings and 6-2 at the Arizona Coyotes. The Blues put 42 shots on goal against the Coyotes but faded late in that game.
“I thought guys competed and worked,” Blues coach Craig Berube said after that loss. “There was a lot of good stuff. I don’t think the score is the real story. But it is what it is. You can’t sit here and make excuses. We weren’t good enough. We got beat. We gotta get better. The power play’s gotta get better.”
In the first nine games after the Blues traded captain Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Blues have gone 2-for-34 on the power play. The Blues are also missing winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who was traded to the New York Rangers, and forward Ivan Barbashev, who was shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Nothing going on the power play,” Buchnevich noted after the Arizona game. “I think the power play killed us today. We have to find out something with the power play to create at least momentum for our team to help win our games.”
The Blues added winger Kasperi Kapanen on waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins and winger Jakub Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings in a trade. So, they are still trying to build chemistry with their new look.
“Not connected, I don’t know,” Buchenvich said. “It doesn’t work right now. We have to do something. It doesn’t work. It’s not the one game. Two weeks, three weeks.”
In the March 2 game against the Blues, James Reimer started in goal and took the loss after making just 17 saves. Alexander Barabanov paced the Sharks’ offense with a goal and an assist. Thomas Greiss started in goal for the Blues and made 22 saves.
–Field Level Media